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Valleywide Focus

Hearing to Focus on Ahmanson Permit

August 31, 1994|FRANK MANNING

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing next month on whether the developers of Ahmanson Ranch should be required to get a special permit to allow for the extension of Las Virgenes Road to make way for the project.

The city's planning staff is urging the commission to require Ahmanson Land Co. to seek the special permit because the area is part of the Las Virgenes Road Scenic Corridor, said Steve Harris, the city's director of community development.

"We would like them to follow our adopted ordinances and procedures," he said.

The hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at City Hall, 26135 Mureau Road.

Ahmanson Land Co. wants to build 3,050 homes, two golf courses and 400,000 square feet of commercial space in a hilly area southeast of Simi Valley near the border of Los Angeles.

The project has been met with fierce opposition from residents and municipalities in the area, who say it would disrupt surrounding neighborhoods. The developers maintain that they have done all they can to minimize the impact of the project on neighbors.

Ahmanson Land Co. initially filed for an encroachment permit to extend Las Virgenes Road to the Ventura County line to make way for the project, said Harris. The city Planning Department reviewed the application and then sent Ahmanson a letter saying the application was incomplete.

The city told Ahmanson it would need a conditional use permit and that it would have to conduct an environmental review of the proposal, Harris said. Ahmanson then appealed the matter to the Planning Commission.

"As a matter of record, I can't discuss this until we've had our hearing and made our decision," said Dave Brown, a member of the commission, when asked about the matter on Monday. The City Council last week voted to appeal a Superior Court judge's ruling that Calabasas was legally bound to allow the widening of Thousand Oaks Boulevard to make way for the project.

Jeff Goodman, who is on the board of directors of the Malibu Canyon Homeowners Assn., said he believes opponents of the Ahmanson project may have to compromise at some point.

"Unfortunately, I'm a realist," said Goodman. "You are going to have big roads running through your community, but you don't need them going through the center."

He said he will continue to oppose the widening of Thousand Oaks Boulevard because it would disrupt the neighborhood.

In the Las Virgenes Road matter, if the Planning Commission upholds the staff recommendation, Ahmanson has the option of appealing to the City Council, said Harris. If the council sides with Ahmanson, city planners would have to issue an encroachment permit.

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